Game Changers

A First-Person Perspective on How PGA WORKS Impacts Lives Through Golf

By Rachel Goetz
Published on

From the age of four, I laced up my soccer cleats and embarked on a journey that spanned through my high-school years, playing competitively, and embracing the camaraderie that team sports offer. Alongside soccer, I found passion in basketball, and testing my endurance as a distance runner in track events. As a Philadelphia native, I am a die-hard Philly sports fan, and knowing, talking, and following sports was a must in my household. However, my connection to golf occurred during my time as an Event Manager at Aronimink Golf Club. There, I was involved in handling food and beverage operations for the 2020 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, as well as organizing various golf outings and events.
My official introduction to the golf industry was when I discovered a job posting by Cameron Dinkins, the PGA WORKS Leader for PGA of America, on a Women in Sports page on LinkedIn. This opportunity led me to engage with her, interview with the Philadelphia Section, and ultimately accept a fellowship position that would immerse me in the world of golf. While my PGA WORKS Fellowship has ended, I'm now excited to leverage my wide array of skills and experiences as the Volunteer Operations Coordinator at the 2024 PGA Championship.
The PGA WORKS Fellowship has made a profound impact on my life. Amidst the various programs I was involved in, PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) has been a highlight of my fellowship. The catalyst for this goes back to my grandfather’s Purple Heart, earned during his service in the Korean War. His service drives my desire to pay it forward to the Veterans and Active-Duty Military Personnel who have sacrificed their lives for our country.
Throughout the experiences that the PGA WORKS Fellowship introduced into my life, the 2023 Secretary's Cup (pictured, above) stands out the most. This event was more than a golf tournament; it was a convergence of stories, memories, and unwavering patriotism. Meeting veterans from throughout the country, I witnessed the profound camaraderie through the game of golf. The golf course became a place where the bonds of service and sacrifice were further solidified.
Stepping beyond the golf course, I was provided with a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the 2023 PGA Championship and the 2023 KPMG Women's PGA Championship during the practice rounds. The planning required to bring these championships to life was inspiring. Witnessing the dedication and passion of the Championship’s team to put together these tremendous events resonated with me, as that is what I am aspiring to do in my career. I was also fortunate enough to help plan and manage PGA REACH Philadelphia’s 2022 and 2023 Pro-Am tournaments, as well as the first annual PGA HOPE Philadelphia Cup with teams of Veterans from all 10 of our Philadelphia PGA HOPE Chapters. The winning team from the HOPE Cup will be playing in the 2024 Secretary’s Cup. 
Yet, the best part of the PGA WORKS Fellowship was the connections I was able to make with leaders in the sports industry, including the PGA of America, as well as other PGA WORKS Fellows from around the country. These encounters have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth and have provided me with new mentors and friends that have taught me a tremendous amount about the ins and outs of the sports industry. 
The PGA WORKS Fellowship, and especially PGA HOPE, have illustrated to me the power that the game of golf possesses in transforming peoples’ lives. After being in this Fellowship for the past 15 months, I have witnessed the power of golf and how it can benefit people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether it was at a PGA HOPE Program, DCP, PGA Jr. League Tournament, or Philadelphia PGA Section Tournament, I saw the impact that golf has on touching individuals’ lives on and off the course. 
I will always be grateful for the PGA WORKS Fellowship, as it has given me amazing and unforgettable experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my career. PGA HOPE, an embodiment of gratitude and honor, holds a special place in my heart. During my Fellowship, I will have helped impact over 750 veterans through our PGA HOPE programs in the Philadelphia PGA Section, while also having the opportunity to work with the 2023 PGA National Patriot Award recipient, John Carpineta (pictured above). 
My prior work with volunteers at both our Section and PGA REACH Philadelphia events has provided me with invaluable insights, ensuring that I'm well-prepared for the challenges and rewards that lie ahead. Overall, I am thankful for the experiences that have brought me to this point, and I'm excited about the road ahead. I look forward to contributing all that I have learned thus far in my career to helping run and manage the 2024 PGA Championship. As I continue my career, I hope to stay with the PGA of America and grow as a leader, as well as continue to impact lives through golf.

To learn more about the PGA WORKS Fellowship, please visit